From 2007-2011, Hester Street (HST) was involved in a community-led visioning process to plan for the future of the Lower East Side waterfront. As a result of this process, funding was secured to convert Pier 42, an underutilized former shipping pier, into public parkland.

Because the master planning process of Pier 42 took several years, HST partnered with 4 other local organizations to create Paths to Pier 42, an interim park and series of free community events to sustain engagement around the renovation of the pier. Every summer from 2013-2017, the Paths to Pier 42 partners organized a series of temporary programs to give residents access to the Pier, increase foot traffic along corridors between the waterfront and neighborhood, serve as recommendations for the full capital renovation plan, and address the vulnerability of the waterfront due to climate change and storm surges. The construction of the permanent park on Pier 42 began in late 2017.